Niger, Burkina Faso And Mali Establish Sahel Alliance

On Saturday, the leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger signed a charter to establish a defense alliance, as announced by ministerial delegations from the three Sahel countries during a press conference.

Assimi Goita, the head of Mali’s ruling junta, took to X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, to express, “Today, alongside the Heads of State of Burkina Faso and Niger, I signed the Liptako-Gourma Charter, officially forming the Alliance of Sahel States (AES). The primary goal of this alliance is to establish a framework for collective defense and mutual assistance to benefit our populations.”

The Liptako-Gourma region, where the borders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger converge, has been severely affected by jihadist activities in recent years. These three nations have been grappling with a jihadist insurgency that began in northern Mali in 2012 and subsequently spread to Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015.

Furthermore, all three countries have experienced coup d’états since 2020, with the most recent occurring in Niger when soldiers overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum in July.

Mali’s defense minister, Abdoulaye Diop, emphasized during the press conference, “This alliance will involve both military and economic cooperation among our three countries. Our top priority is to combat terrorism within our borders.”

In addition to countering jihadists associated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, Mali has recently witnessed renewed hostilities involving predominantly Tuareg armed groups over the past week. These separatist groups initiated a rebellion in 2012 before signing a peace agreement with the state in 2015. However, this agreement is now widely regarded as ineffective.